Who is ready to network in person again? I know most of us have had many virtual meetings over the last year and a half and they will continue.
Since March of 2020, the “cheese” moved to the virtual world when it came to networking and meeting others. Some in-person events were held and they were few and far between. In almost a year there were virtually (no pun intended) no in-person events. Many asked during this time what can be done to network as the in-person events stopped.
January 6, 2021, Wednesday Wisdom weekly networking was born running every week at 11:00 am as we entered the mid-point of our week. Thanks to so many supporters and suggestions, we learned to connect virtually and build on these relationships.
Wednesday Wisdom Goes In-Person
On August 4th, 2021, Wednesday Wisdom held the first in-person event with 31 in attendance on a beautiful sunny day at the Greenlawn Memorial patio. Many had not met in person and some had never networked. It is self-rewarding to help others embrace the concept of networking and build their connections.
The conversations were engaging and most did not want to end the event when it was time to leave. Conversations continued into the parking lot and everyone mentioned they look forward to the next one.
Wednesday Wisdom is going to have the final virtual meeting on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 and transition to the first Wednesday of the month from virtual meetings to in-person networking. If tighter pandemic restrictions are put in place, Wednesday Wisdom will quickly resume weekly virtual meetings.
The upcoming Wednesday Wisdom events are scheduled for Wednesday, September 1st, 2021 at Frank Brewing Co. and Wednesday, October 6th, 2021 at The Windsor Club.
We might need a refresher in networking at events and remember to keep practicing social distance. I have not figured out how to have a beverage while wearing a mask; please share if you have! Greet the person by saying hello, make eye contact, skip the handshake, do the fist or elbow pump which seems to be acceptable in social settings. Ask for their name and to share their story, share your name and then share your story.
Be genuine, listen effectively, ask questions and make it about them. It is not about you. Yes, make it about them. Practice this by really listening, asking questions, repeating what they said to show you understand. Build the relationship first and when the time is right you can move into the selling part of the relationship.
Resumes & Brochures
I have been asked this many times by attendees of networking events if it is appropriate to bring resumes. My simple answer is no. If you hand me your resume, where can I put it while I’m standing juggling a beverage and handing you my business card? I do not want to fold it or get it wrinkled or dirty.
You can ask if the person is aware of their organization hiring and for what position or share your career path to see if the company is a good fit to consider. Ask who you can send the resume to. Move the conversation back to them once you have shared your story.
The same thing applies to brochures and corporate folders. It is difficult to review these on the spot and to keep them neat and clean. Ask if you can e-mail the information or better yet, set up an intro meeting whether it is a phone call, in-person if it is in a safe setting or virtual meeting.
Let’s Network Again!
Can you tell I’m excited to be networking in person? If we are all aware of the venue, the protocols and follow the rules, together we can network in person in a healthy and safe way.
What networking events are you attending virtually or in person?